Whoever said fashion wasn’t practical clearly hasn’t thought it over too thoroughly. Cue the riding pants, leggings and jeggings (read: jean-leggings) fashion market.
Three fall seasons ago, around the time of my entrance into Washington, riding pants were all the rage. Riding pants are stretchy cotton pants with a zipper that are made to look like chaps. There is a fine line demarcating the difference between leggings and riding pants: The latter is thicker and has a zipper—but leggings are not appropriate in many social situations, and riding pants are.
As Blair Waldorf once said, “Leggings are NOT pants.” however, riding pants are—it’s in the name, damnit.
Investing in an overpriced pair of Theory riding pants that fall, I thought I was being stylish. No, I was being smart. Black stretchy pants will take you through the winter, stretching over and hiding the winter pudge and paleness, tucking into boots and working with everything; they are your new best friend. Moreover, they will keep you warm and comfy without looking sloppy.
I’ve worn them to work under a blazer, pumpkin picking with a sweater, and to countless brunches and even on dates. Right now, I’m wearing them on a plane with a grey off-the-shoulder dolman sweater, riding boots, a leopard scarf and a utility jacket.
Fashion designers are not heartless creatures, they just want you to spend money. So, each winter they will provide the rest of us peons with a black, stretchy, life-saving, all-enduring pant option. Last year, it was riding pants with zippers and black jeggings. An upgrade from riding pants that you clearly had to purchase—plus yours were probably worn out.
This year, capitalizing upon the leather trend, leather-trimmed stretchy pants see to be the name of the game. From Zara to Cusp to J Crew to Urban Chic, leather-trimmed black bottoms are everywhere. These babies are even dressier than riding pants, so they are I arguably accepted at restaurants, bars and other establishments. They can be worn with heels and a blazer to work or out to dinner. Or with riding boots and a sweater during the day and to brunch.
It’s also an easy way to capitalize upon the leather trend without dropping hundreds on a leather skirt, dress or jacket, with price points that begin at $300-$500 and skyrocket up from there.
Alice + Olivia Leather Panel Leggings, $330, Cusp.
SW3 Bespoke Ashby Paneled Leggings, $185, Cusp.
Sparkle & Fade Moto Ponte Knit Pant, $69, Urban Outfitters.
Topshop Faux Leather Panel Pants, $56, Nordstrom.
Faux Leather Paneled Pants, $49, Macy’s.